Diablo 4 is having a free trial on Steam for the first time ever

Late game image from the Diablo IV campaign.
(Image credit: Blizzard)

Diablo 4 has offered free trials in the past on Battle.net but for the first time ever you can now take it for a no-cost test drive on Steam. Until 10 am PT/1 pm ET on November 28, the forces of evil are yours to smack around across the ruined realm of Sanctuary—with certain limitations.

I suspect the timing isn't coincidental—today is also the first day of the big Steam Autumn Sale—and it opens the door to a huge audience of potential players that Blizzard's own Battle.net, with all due respect, just doesn't have. It's also an opportunity to turn around the not-great first impressions of the game on Steam, where the user rating currently stands at mixed. That's not catastrophic (Starfield, for instance, holds the same rating), but it's also not great for a game that was supposed to be a strong return to form for one of Blizzard's most famous game series.

(Image credit: Blizzard (Twitter))

Trial players will have access to all Diablo 4 contents mentioned, but as mentioned, there is one limit: Characters are capped at level 20. That's not terribly high and won't take most people long to hit, especially since Blizzard is also running a "Mother's Blessing Week" that confers a 35% XP and gold bonus until November 27. Blizzard confirmed that the bonus applies to the trial version of the game as well as the full release, which means it might not take more than a few hours, depending on what you're doing, to run headlong into the cap.

The XP bonus is good for people who don't have a lot of time to sink into the trial period, and you can create multiple characters and grind them all to level 20 if you like—there's no limit on how many times you can run up to the cap as far as I know, so if you want to sample all of Diablo 4's classes, this is definitely an opportunity to do so. But if you were hoping for a good week of kicking infernal ass, it's not going to happen. If you're lucky, you'll get a solid Saturday afternoon out of it.

Even if you can't go really deep into Diablo 4 content with this trial, it's hardly the worst way to blow a weekend, and it's hard to argue with free. If you've been eager to take Diablo 4 for a spin but just really, really don't want to do it on Battle.net, here's your chance. If you find yourself sufficiently entranced by the experience, you can also pick it up on the cheap: Diablo 4 is 40% off—that's $42/£36/€42—in the 2023 Steam Autumn Sale.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.